“Santa’s coming. Santa’s coming.”
That’s what I kept saying this morning as Eckie and I waited outside the front door and the sound of sirens filled the air. It’s the last Sunday before Christmas. The day when Santa returns to the North Pole.
It’s one of my favorite Christmas traditions. The North Coventry fire department and Goodwill ambulance service drive around the township, sirens sounding, lights flashing. The caravan was only an ambulance and one fire truck this year. In the past, the fire chief’s truck or another fire truck have joined in and Christmas music has played over the truck’s speakers.
You can hear the sirens and the music long before the trucks reach my street. This year, no music. Just sirens. I thought I heard them near the bottom of the hill so Eckie and I headed outside to wave goodbye to Santa. She enjoyed exploring the icy lawn and I shivered.
I had misjudged the location of the sirens so we waited about 10 minutes before I knew the sirens had pulled onto the street. First came the ambulance. As the lead vehicle, it’s pretty much the spotter. The driver looks for people at their doors or on their porches and radios back to the fire truck. After radioing back that I was outside, the ambulance stopped just after my yard to wait for Santa to catch up.
About 30 seconds later, Santa was here. He waved. I waved. Eckie continued barking because of the dual sirens. When I was little, I thought the fire trucks were escorting Santa from the mall back to the Pole (or rather Santa’s helper, because we all know that Santa can’t be in every mall). In my memory, after Santa said goodbye to the township, there wasn’t a Santa at the mall anymore. My sister has since told me that I’m wrong about that, but a part of me is pretty sure that the guy at the mall now isn’t even a special helper of Santa. He’s just a guy. The magic helper had to go back home. In any case, I’ll avoid the local mall or any mall for that matter now, at least during hours when kids can get their pictures taken with Santa.
I know the magic helper is gone. Just like he has to leave every year to make it back to the North Pole to help Santa get ready for the Christmas Eve flight. Because I saw him say goodbye as he disappeared from view on the back of a fire truck.